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Monday, December 9, 2013

Author Interview - Terri-Lynne Smiles @TLSmiles #Foreseen

6:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments
Image of Terri-Lynne Smiles
What genre of books do you adore?
Thrillers in general. They can be science fiction, crime, or fantasy thrillers. To me, thrillers are defined by the brisk pace and fairly high level of action. I prefer ones that have some out-of-the-ordinary element allowing for an examination of aspects of human nature that are often otherwise unnoticed. The characters can’t be flat either. That drives me crazy!

What book should everybody read at least once?
Flatland, a satirical novella written in 1884 by the pseudononymous “A. Square.” Aside from the overt commentary on the culture of the time, Flatland explores how the limits of our perception shape an inaccurate concept of reality. My sixth grade teacher had me read Flatland as a special assignment and it changed my understanding of consciousness and reality.

Are there any books you really don’t enjoy?
I don’t care for novels with solely character plots. I need some action or at least interesting twists on social concepts aside from the personal growth of the main character. I am also not a big fan of historical fiction unless the history takes a distant back seat and is woven into a great story with intriguing characters. I don’t read erotica – my sex life does quite well without fictional enhancements, thank-you-very-much. And finally, I dislike reading anything where I am forced to be aware of the writing – no matter how technically “perfect” it is.

What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
In quiet ways, she bettered the lives of others.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
On the surface, I had an uninteresting childhood – born and raised in small college towns in the Midwest U.S. where I still live. But when I was little, the infamous Kent State shootings occurred – for those who don’t know, the National Guard opened fire in response to a university Vietnam War protest, killing 4 bystanders who happened to be walking across the Kent State’s campus. My family lived an hour away from Kent State and, while I was too young to grasp what had happened, I remember the shock and fear that academia was no longer safe and predictable. Also, my mother was a Japanese-American, having been born and raised on Maui. She was six-years old when the country of Japan began dropping bombs on the islands of her home, changing her culture and life forever. So, while I had an ordinary life, you could say I am generationally aware of how quickly normalcy can be disrupted.

How did you develop your writing?
Reading, reading, reading. Reading allows me to analyze why a tone or a character or a passage works or why it doesn’t, and apply that same analysis to my own work. The second most important tool to develop my writing has been the study of the structure of plots and pace. I recommend Ronald Tobias’ 20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them for plot structure and Robert McKee’s book Story for novel pacing, even though its directed at writing screenplays.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Story premises just appear in my head, like wildflowers popping up in a field. But the inspiration to get through the hard work of developing them into stories with solid plots comes from my muse - a young woman with whom I chat online with to tell her what I am thinking or where I am stuck. By some magic or divine intervention, the process of telling her what I am doing creates a burst in my head, showing me exactly how to proceed.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
In this day and age, marketing. I love getting to know readers, whether at book festivals, readings or book clubs. That part is fun. But the effort to come up with “content” for multiple Facebook pages, my Twitter account and other social media sites takes a lot of time and mental energy that I would otherwise spend writing. On the other hand, social media allows me to get to know a lot more readers than I ever could in person, so there is definitely an upside to the time spent.

What marketing works for you?
I LOVE talking to readers. I think of appearances and events as being about the reader and getting them what they want, not about me or selling my books. For example, at book fairs, I like to find out what kinds of books a reader is interested in, and I direct him to other authors if it’s not my kind of fiction. I’ve noticed a fair number of those people come back to ask more about my novels and pick up a copy for someone they know. Face-to-face contact isn’t an efficient way to market books, but it’s the most rewarding for me. Otherwise, I use Goodreads and blogs quite a bit to generate reviews and interest. I did a Twitter chat last month that as very positive as well.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
LOL! I have to hold myself back from sharing my work before it’s fully “cooked.”  I get excited about ideas presented and have to remind myself that readers will enjoy it more when it is completely polished, rather than putting out bits as I go.

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
I am very blessed. My son has always been my biggest cheerleader and while it took my husband awhile to accept my transition from big-time lawyer to emerging novelist, he’s seen how much happier and healthier I am and loves having me around more – well, most of the time! My close circle of friends has shifted since I left my law practice, with some “friends” falling away, but the core that remained has been supportive beyond my wildest dreams. They love my novels and that I dared to pursue this path. I can’t ask for more than that!

Foreseen
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Science, Fantasy, Thriller
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author and the book
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